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A Skeleton My Cat

Norma Clarke: ‘Poor Goldsmith’

21 February 2019
The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith 
edited by Michael Griffin and David O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £64.99, July 2018, 978 1 107 09353 9
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... Village, were, he emphatically declared, based on his observations in England. It has seldom seemed necessary to consider his Irishness, but the editors of this new edition of Goldsmith’s letters, MichaelGriffin and David O’Shaughnessy, urge its importance, and they are surely right. Some of the ideas that persistently recur in Goldsmith’s work – opposition to imperialism, scepticism about ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis

18 March 1999
Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... Jim Sallis is the one who isn’t Bill Clinton’s official favourite purveyor of fiction, although his sequence of crime novels featuring the New Orleans polymath Lew Griffin (writer, melancholic, occasional lecturer in French Lit, sometime PI and full-time avatar of the author) has plenty of superficial similarities to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins project. Both men ...

Like a Ball of Fire

Andrew Cockburn

23 February 2020
... in hand. Excitement was running high. ‘You can’t walk more than ten feet in the Pentagon without hearing the word “hypersonics”,’ one official remarked to an industry sponsored conference. MichaelGriffin, undersecretary of defence for research and engineering, a hypersonics enthusiast, has spoken of the need for ‘maybe thousands’ of hypersonic weapons. ‘This takes us back to the Cold ...
29 August 1991
Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship 
by Nicholas Griffin.
Oxford, 409 pp., £45, January 1991, 0 19 824453 3
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Philosophical Papers 
by F.P. Ramsey, edited by D.H. Mellor.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £30, August 1990, 0 521 37480 4
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The Philosophy of F.P. Ramsey 
by Nils-Eric Sahlin.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £27.50, November 1990, 0 521 38543 1
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... Brink, a lecturer in English at McMaster who helped to edit Volumes I and XII of the Collected Papers. This presented a Freudian analysis of the personal papers published in those volumes. Nicholas Griffin’s Russell’s Idealist Apprenticeship has a similar genesis, although in terms of philosophical sophistication and scholarly meticulousness it is a much weightier proposition. Griffin is a ...

The Edges of Life

Jeremy Waldron

12 May 1994
Life’s Dominion: An Argument about Abortion and Euthanasia 
by Ronald Dworkin.
HarperCollins, 273 pp., £17.50, May 1993, 0 394 58941 6
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... Those who picket abortion clinics seem pretty clear in their own minds that what they are protesting is the deliberate killing of human children who have a right to live. One pro-life activist, MichaelGriffin, was recently found guilty of murder because he shot a Florida doctor dead outside an abortion clinic. Though he now claims he was brainwashed, he is reported to have written a letter from ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode

17 April 1986
Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael​ Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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Hemingway: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... writing of quite long books about a writer before he truly became a writer by arguing that nothing about so great a figure can be wholly irrelevant, but it seems to me that both Mr Reynolds and Mr Griffin have pushed this argument a bit far. When you’ve read these books you will be exempted from ever attending to another word about Hemingway’s home town Oak Park, a posh suburb of Chicago; and ...

No nation I’ve ever heard of

Garth Greenwell: Matthew Griffin’s ‘Hide’

19 January 2017
by Matthew Griffin.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 4088 6708 2
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... At the beginning​ of Matthew Griffin’s novel, Wendell, his eighty-something narrator, finds his partner collapsed in their garden, face up in the North Carolina sun. Frank will recover from the immediate effects of his stroke, but the ...

Homo Sexualis

Michael​ Ignatieff

4 March 1982
Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 
by Jeffrey Weeks.
Longman, 306 pp., £11, October 1981, 0 582 48333 6
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Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women 
by Alan Bell, Martin Weinberg and Sue Kiefer Hammersmith.
Indiana, 242 pp., £9, October 1981, 9780253166739
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Pornography and Silence 
by Susan Griffin.
Women’s Press, 277 pp., £4.75, October 1981, 0 7043 3877 7
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Penguin, 176 pp., £2.25, May 1981, 0 14 022299 5
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... with a powerful form of modern humanism: the claim that an eros liberated by politics from patriarchy and repression would provide the instinctual grounding of an ethics of human obligation. In Susan Griffin’s recent book on pornography, an ethical argument against pornographic representation is based on the empirical claim that human eroticism is ‘naturally’ non-violent, life-affirming and ...
19 July 1984
by D.M. Thomas.
Gollancz, 312 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 575 03446 7
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First Among Equals 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 446 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 340 35266 3
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Morning Star 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 264 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 9780856341380
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... the poets had been given red roses to wear, to distinguish them from the politicians. This was hardly necessary, since most of the politicians looked like T.S. Eliot and most of the poets looked like Michael Foot – with Mary Wilson as one of the exceptions. Although I warned the heroine of Mrs Wilson’s Diary that I was a journalist, she favoured me with her political opinions (sound, I thought, if ...

At the Movies

Michael​ Wood: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘A Hidden Life’

23 February 2020
... the Fatherland. (There is an amazing book-burning in which the youngsters take part with furious enthusiasm, as if in revenge on schooling.) At the camp, our hero, the ten-year-old Johannes (Roman Griffin Davis), is confronted by his first challenge: he is asked to kill a rabbit. He can’t, because he is scared. This is how he earns the nickname Jojo Rabbit. Fortunately, he has a jolly imaginary ...

Is it a crime?

P.N. Furbank

6 June 1985
Peterley Harvest: The Private Diary of David Peterley 
edited by Michael​ Holroyd.
Secker, 286 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 436 36715 7
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... and copies were destroyed. Now it has been reissued by Secker and Warburg, as part of the Arts Council Reprint Library, with (as readers of the London Review of Books will know) an Introduction by Michael Holroyd, which identifies ‘David Peterley’ as an artistic fiction and argues a persuasive case for the book’s worth and raison d’être. Let me dwell a moment or two on the ‘crime’ aspect ...
27 May 1993
Dr Haggard’s Disease 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 180 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 0 670 85195 7
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by James Hamilton-Paterson.
Cape, 238 pp., £14.99, May 1993, 9780224037174
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... into a shell of self-absorption and despair. To top it all, Fanny Ratcliff has died of a mysterious, debilitating illness. The outbreak of war finds Edward Haggard working miserably as a GP in Griffin Head, a fictional South Coast town. Then one day there walks into his surgery Fanny’s son, now a Spitfire pilot. This is also where the reader comes in, for the novel is addressed by Haggard to ...
7 November 2019
... late David Rockefeller, longtime chairman of the board (his mother, Abby, was a co-founder of the museum), and the other half from just four people: the hedge fund billionaires Leon Black, Kenneth Griffin and Steven Cohen, and the media mogul David Geffen (a new centre is named after Cohen and his wife, and an entire wing after Geffen). They responded to the call of MoMA’s director, Glenn Lowry, to ...


Louise Foxcroft: W.B. Yeats and her great-uncle

7 September 2000
... during the war? Or did they know something my grandfather didn’t? Alternatively, were the authorities trying to cover up the fact that the graves had been destroyed? Albert wrote to Yeats’s son, Michael. His letter has not survived but the reply has. It is a kind letter, and Yeats agrees with Albert that ‘the position with regard to the cemetery at Roquebrune would appear to be more than a little ...
21 September 1995
Fascism: A History 
by Roger Eatwell.
Chatto, 327 pp., £20, August 1995, 0 7011 6188 4
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edited by Roger Griffin.
Oxford, 410 pp., £9.99, June 1995, 0 19 289249 5
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... hand, Gastone Spinetti, the young Italian Fascist who tried to revive the revolutionary and youth-oriented side of Italian Fascism in the Thirties had no doubt that the Falangists were true Fascists. Michael Ledeen writes in Universal Fascism that ‘Spinetti argued that the Falange was a true Fascist movement because of its belief in the Fascist trinity of “authority, hierarchy, order”, and because ...

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